A circulation battle is in prospect in an East Midlands town after a regional daily launched a new weekly edition there.
The Northcliffe-owned Leicester Mercury has launched a new edition in Loughborough with ten pages of local news and an initial print run of 7,000 copies.
Two journalists from the Loughborough area have been recruited to generate content and produce the pages, both of them working mainly from home.
The weekly Loughborough Echo, owned by Trinity Mirror, is currently the main paid-for title in the university town, with an average weekly circulation of 16,335 according to the most recent ABC figures.
The new title, which hit the streets for the first time today, will have the same 45p cover price as the Leicester daily and a familiar masthead adapted from its stablemate.
Northcliffe says it has been produced “to meet a clear demand in the area for grassroots news which has been expressed by retailers and local people.”
Mercury editor Richard Bettsworth said: “We know that people want hyper local news; what is going on in their communities and down their street. What we are doing is trying to provide that news in a different way than in the past.
“The traditional approach to producing an editionalised paper with an area office is just not affordable in these times and we have to be innovative if we are going to build a future for the publishing industry.
“It is a bold move to find a new way of delivering the news that people want, building our readership and providing advertisers a great opportunity to engage with the local community.
“We think this is a positive statement about the future of print and we are excited to be making it.”
Richard said the Loughborough Mercury would be a “bright, informative and entertaining new local paper” which would build on the Leicester title’s existing strengths on Wednesdays.
These include a sports section, eight-page jobs supplement and entertainment listings as well as the ten pages of specific Loughborough news.